Wednesday, April 19, 2006

More Light, Less Heat -- Part I

The exchange I have been having with some commenters on this Blog has helped me realize the need for another regular feature. This is more important than Naked Emperors or Eight Hundred Pound Gorillas in the living-room. It is a matter of Christian service, and it is a service that I must give.

The mainstream media has given us a very skewed portrait of America. This is quite deliberate, I can assure you. The Culture War sells papers and air time -- and it sells big. Anything that helps people understand what's really going on with their fellow human beings is unwelcome if it alters the cartoon-simple picture the media wishes to show us. If we came to understand each other better, this trumped-up Culture War would have to end.

Evangelical Christianity has a very schizoid position toward gays and lesbians. Out of one side of its face, it tells people that gays are NOT Christians (period -- ever-ever-ever-ever). Then out of the other, it says it will not welcome those of us who are. Which of these two, contradictory and mutually-exclusive positions is the truth? They're hoping that most people will be too stupid or self-absorbed to ask.

Further compounding the hypocrisy of Evangelicals are their frequent and thunderous condemnations of the very mainstream media upon which -- for the perpetuation of useful public ignorance -- they so depend. "Don't dare get the story wrong about us," they say, "but by all means help us spin the story about everybody else."

Many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Evangelical churches have sprouted up around the country. There is a real revival, in the GLBT community nationwide, of traditional Christian faith. Why has the mainstream media missed it? I suppose a better question would be, why would anybody wonder why it wouldn't?

So we know the mainstream media has no incentive to cover the gay Evangelical revival, and we know why. We also know why mainstream Evangelicalism would rather ignore us (or distort the facts about us) than engage us in serious debate. A few books have been written to "debunk" gay Christianity, but they are so full of errors and outright lies that they are an embarrassment to every honest Evangelical. These people count on the mainstream media to cover their backs, at the very same time they are publicly crying crocodile tears about how abused they are by the media! If hypocrisy were an art form, these guys would be Michelangelos.

Not only is all this abysmally unfair to gays, but those who depend upon Evangelical Christian leaders for spiritual guidance have been robbed and defrauded.

Evangelical gays are not shutting up and we're not going away. We will continue to take the truth of our message to those willing to hear it, and in time this will accomplish what courageous truth-telling always does. It will shame those invested in lies into engaging with us and dealing with reality.

A big lie, frequently told by gay-welcoming liberal churches, is that we mustn't take the Bible too seriously, because a "literal" reading of it would condemn us. There has perhaps never been a more tragic lie. A consistently Evangelical interpretation of Biblical teaching -- far from condemning gays to a life of celibacy -- would set us free to be treated just as straight people are. We would be held to the exact same standard as that which applies to straights, which would be stricter, by far, than the one indulged in by most non-Christian gays, but would still allow us to form loving, faithful, lifelong covenanted relationships and build strong families.

There are a couple of lies that Evangelicals do not want, at any costs, to see exposed -- which is why they so vehemently participate in the dehumanization of gays.

We, as a society, have really screwed up marriage and the family. As the overwhelming majority of people in society are heterosexual, any constructive and truth-telling solution to the problems we face would focus primarily on heterosexual conduct. But religious leaders must be careful what they say to those who provide the majority of their financial support. A far better fundraising tactic, than to blame those holding the purse-strings for their own problems, is to blame somebody else for them -- especially if it's somebody unpopular and easy to dislike.

The real reason "homosexuality" is such a popular Evangelical bogeybear is because modern Evangelicals have become so morally corrupt. Jesus told us to focus more on our own sins than on those of others. Modern "Christian" morality consists largely of snooping into the lives of others, obsessing about THEIR morality and trying to bully them around. With attitudes like this abounding among those who set themselves up as moral judges over the rest of us, it is small wonder our society has become such a open sewer.

Now, lemme see here. Most people are heterosexual, so let's concentrate on...homosexuality? How CONVENIENT! Just make it a "sin" to do what the vast majority of people would never want to do anyway, and divert as much attention as possible away from your own misdeeds.

The very focus on homosexuality is indeed a sign of how immoral our society has become. The only problem is that most of the corruption has come from the very people who presume to have the right to criticize others.

Why do those who take it upon themselves to lecture me about MY morality get so indignant at me for suggesting they look more closely at their own? Stop for just a minute, and think about what this says about them. They want me to believe they are acting out of Christian love, and simply trying to reprove me for my own betterment -- but when I return the favor and do the same to them, look at their reaction.

Shouldn't they be grateful for the advice? (After all, they expect ME to be!)

I'm supposed to be chastened, humbled and profusely thankful for the guidance they would give me, but they are insulted when I offer constructive criticism to them. Yet if I react to them the way they do to me, they marvel at what an "angry" person I am! Go figure THAT out!

I guess humility is no longer considered one of the Christian virtues.


At 8:01 PM, Blogger I will remember said...

While I can freely admit there is some strange enigma attached to homosexuality for which I can find no reason - logical or scriptural or otherwise for that matter, I do not believe that homosexuality is something ordained by God.

I've called quite a few people to task on may issues in the word where I have felt led to do so - one of these issues would the capital punishment. They didn't just kill murderers in the old testament, they killed witches and people who had sex with animals. I don't see us going around and killing them also...

But I digress...

It is not my place to tell anyone "about themselves" unless it is a personal moment and I feel led to discuss something with someone.

The bottom line is that we work out our own salvation with God. As far as that goes - I would give the same advice I was given (and very profound advice it was) - take no one's word or interpretation of the word at face value. Get in the bible and study it for yourself.

If you are called to use the word and you have in fact studied it yourself, they you will know that you know that you know where if you are leaning on someone else's teaching, there is always room for doubt.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Lori Heine said...

Thanks for some intelligent and respectful input. I do not agree with you that homosexuality was not ordained by God, as it shows up in a small but significant percentage of the population, has over all the centuries of recorded time, and is -- and I know not only myself but a great many other people in whom I can confidently state this -- not chosen. Moreover, it is idiotic to think that it would be chosen, when it has almost always been persecuted as it has been.

Unless God is a sadistic monster (and as a Christian, I cannot believe so), then God would not will misery upon a significant portion of His creation. Straights are well aware that homosexuality is a created trait. Heck, when they're not on their guard, they even joke about how easy it sometimes is to "tell one." This stereotyping can, indeed, be overdone and is sometimes wrong, yet anyone who knows very many gay folks can tell you there is indeed a creational element to their being (which makes sense, as nobody but God is in the business of creating people).

I don't know what you mean by saying there's any "enigma" attached to it. I would say a "stigma" was more like it, and this is what I mean. As marriage has traditionally usually been seen as a matter of male ownership of women and children, in a heavily male-dominated society, it is not at all hard to see what the reason has been.

Marriage for love, as I have often stated in this Blog, is the real reason for the decline of marriage and the family as stable institutions. I will consider you, or any heterosexual, credible in criticizing it when I see you leading the way to abolish marriage for love and bring back marriage by arrangement.

Many foes of gay rights automatically assume gay Christians can't know the Bible because it makes them feel better to think so. My general experience with anti-gay Christians is that very few of them have more than a passing and very parasitic knowledge of Scripture.

It is good to see that you, at least, acknowledge that you can't presume to know how well I do or do not know the Bible, and exhort me to be sure I know it.

I refuse to debate gay rights, anymore, with people who rig the argument by assuming they can condescend to me. (My rights and my humanity are debatable, but theirs are somehow not.) Anyone who wants to argue human rights, in general, with another person (particularly when they approach the discussion with the assumption that this other person's rights are more debatable than their own), needs to have the guts to put their own rights on the table for debate, as well.

That is what I try to do on this Blog. Several posts ago, a couple of people got themselves very righteously indignant because I dared -- gasp!!! -- DARED to suggest, in effect, that their rights (and their virtue) might fairly be subject to as much debate as mine.

There's a reason why humility has traditionally been considered a Christian virtue. From your comments here, you would seem to be one of the rare Christians left who understands this.


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